New Delhi–Blistering unbeaten knocks by David Hussey and Suresh Raina took two-time champions Chennai Super Kings to their fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) final in six seasons with a comprehensive 48-run win over Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier at the Ferozeshah Kotla.
Hussey struck an unbeaten 86 off 58 balls, with the help of 10 boundaries and two sixes, and Raina, who remained not out on 82 off 42 balls – hitting five fours and five sixes – set-up the win with their 140-run unfinished stand for the second wicket that took Chennai Super Kings to a mammoth 192 for one in 20 overs.
While chasing it looked Mumbai Indians, sans Sachin Tendulkar out with a palm injury, would pull off a stunning as Dawyne Smith gave them a flying start with a 28-ball 68 but then they suffered a middle-order collapse and their innings folded up for 144 with eight balls to spare as Super Kings reached their fourth consecutive IPL final.
Mumbai Indians will now face the winner of the eliminator between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second qualifier.
It was a clinical performance by the Chennai Super Kings bowling and the pick of the lot was pacer Dwayne Bravo, who picked up three for nine and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja got three for 31.
Fast bowler Mohit Sharma also got two for 32 while South African pace duo Albie Morkel and Chris Morris got wicket apiece.
Mumbai Indians lost opening batsman Aditya Tare (7) early in the second over with Murali Vijay taking a straight forward catch at mid-on off Morkel.
Followed next was a stormy innings from Smith, who tore apart the Super Kings attack with his whirlwind 28-ball knock that was studded with six fours and five sixes.
Smith broke free in the with two consecutive sixes of pacer Mohit Sharma and followed it up by spanking Albie Morkel for three fours in the next over as 56 runs came up in six overs.
Smith came down hard on Chris Morris hitting him for two sixes in the seventh over and introduction of spin also didn’t yield much as Ravichandran Ashwin came in for some harsh treatment and conceded 14 runs in his first over.
Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ploy to operate with pacers in the first seven overs didn’t work much as 72 runs were scored in no time.
It was left-arm spinner Jadeja, who gave Super Kings the second crucial break through by getting rid of Smith, who spooned an easy straightforward catch to Raina.
As long as Smith was batting, Mumbai Indians were on course as they were 86 for one after eight overs. But Smith’s dismissal triggered a batting collapse and Mumbai Indians lost next three wickets for just 14 runs on board.—IANS